Muscatine, Iowa

Talk about small worlds, ever heard of Muscatine Iowa?

I hadn't.  The only reason I know about it is we have a job out there.  One night Debbie's friend Glee asked in
what part of the country I was this week and Debbie mentioned Muscatine.  Glee looked somewhat astonished
and said  her mother was raised there.  

Would it be possible if I got some pictures?

I got a few.   I can probably flesh this out a bit more later on.

To get to Muscatine,  you go south off of I-80 for about thirty miles, taking some rural routes.

Methodist Church

I passed by this church, saw the cross and flame  and thought,  "Oh boy,  I am in Hell Fire and Brimstone  Country
now.  This ought to really be fun."  -  Ever heard of Blue Laws?  Turned out it wasn't bad at all.  

Driving into town for the first time, I was looking for the hotel.  For some reason I only looked right and should
have looked left. It would have saved me some 20 extra miles of driving.

I drove down five or ten miles and concluded Muscatine must have been back somewhere in the other direction.

I finally saw a farmer's market which was closing for the day, got out and asked for directions.  The guy told me
I had got on the normal route instead of the bypass route and that I had to travel some miles back in the other
direction.  He mentioned he could be a bit more specific........

I got the drift and bought a melon and some tomatoes.

For that I got to follow him back to his turnoff.  He told me to take second street all the way around and I would
run into the hotel, across from a car dealership.

I took the road for a while and didn't see anything which looked like business - type civilization so I stopped by
a gas station and asked again.  I was only half a mile or so away from the hotel - didn't go far enough.  

I also asked what that large body of water was south of town.  The owner looked at me like I was from Mars
and informed me I was looking at the mighty Mississippi River and the Muscatine was known as the
"Pearl of the Mississippi".

Geography never was my strong suit.  Navigation either.


If you drive over the Mississippi River bridge from Illinois,  this sign greets you on the other side...

Along with an Iowa  welcome sign.


I noticed a park, or something like a park along the river and found a boat dock.  A lot of boats there.

Boat Ramp

This is the boat ramp.


Driving a bit north, I got this picture of the Mississippi River and bridge.
It was a bit hazy that morning.


Another shot of the bridge east of the boat docks.


From the boat landing.


They had a neat statue.  

The plaque says:

Presented to the City of Muscatine by Musquitine Tribe No, 25.
Improved Order of Red Men and Dedicated to the 
Musquitine  Indians  1928

A little history from

Muscatine, seat of Muscatine County, first came into existence in the summer of 1833 when Col. George Davenport of Rock Island, Illinois, sent three representatives into the territory to set up a trading post. That same year, James W. Casey and John Vanatta stopped at the outpost. Here Casey’s “woodpile” stocked the steamboats providing access to the frontier, opened June 1, 1833, by the Blackhawk Purchase, and gave the settlement its first name of “Casey’s Woodpile”. In May 1836, a surveyor was engaged to survey a town and when the first plat was made, the name of Newburg was given to the town, which was soon discarded and changed to Bloomington. The population then was 71.

The first public land sale was held in Burlington in November of 1838 and Muscatine County reserved the quarter section on which the courthouse stands paying the Federal Government $1.25 per acre. On December 24, 1839, the commissioners met to receive bids for the construction of the first courthouse. After examination and investigation of seven proposals, the contract was awarded to William Brownwell and William Hassinger. The size of the building was to be 50 X 60 feet with a 10-foot wide portico across the end. The walls were to be 30 feet in height from platform to wall plate. The height of the ceiling was to be 12 feet on the lower floor and 16 feet 9 inches on the court room floor. The foundation of the courthouse was to be of hammered stone, outside walls of brick, thickness of walls twenty inches. The original contract price of the building was $11,500, which was materially increased before the building was entirely completed. The contract called for the completion of structure on or before September 1, 1841.

The town referred to as Bloomington was originally incorporated in 1839, but the name led to confusion. Frequent miscarriages of letters by mail occurred because there were towns of the same name in Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri and Indiana. Also, postmasters for Bloomington sometimes mistook Burlington. On June 7, 1849, the town’s name was changed from Bloomington to Muscatine. The name of Muscatine is of Indian origin, derived from the Mascoutin Indians, a war-like tribe, who had been driven westward across the Mississippi and settled on a large sandy bottomland encircled by a slough just south of the present site of the city. This area is now known as the Muscatine Island. The name Muscatine is unique in that it is not used by any other city in the United States, or so far as known in the world.


I spent some time talking to folks who were doing city grounds maintenance and found there were
half a dozen or so of these community buildings along the Mississippi River.  They can be rented
out for all kinds of public or private occasions.  I thought that was a very nice idea and said so,
and by the way the grounds looked very nice.

The workers thanked me and asked if I was interested in getting some really good pictures of
the Mississippi River.  I said yes, and they directed me to a place I drove right past called
the Mark Twain Overlook.

The overlook is straight up this hill.


A little information about the overlook and Great River Road.

View 1

View 1

View 2

View 2

View 3

View 3


Drive across the bridge and you are in Illinois.


There was a small patch of these interesting looking grasses.


Downtown Muscatine.


The Capitol Building, I assume.  I didn't have time to check it out.

Out at the job site I decided to do a  little looking around:

Looks Familiar

That sure looks like cactus all over the place.


It is cactus all over the place!  I took the opportunity to liberate a couple pads.

I am guessing this is  Opuntia Humifusa , an edible type.

This ends part one of the Muscatine trip.  I'll have to do a little research for the second one.